Mush from the Wimp
Origins of the phrase
On Saturday, March 15, 1980, the Boston Globe ran an editorial that began:
Certainly it is in the self-interest of all Americans to impose upon themselves the kind of economic self-discipline that President Carter urged repeatedly yesterday in his sober speech to the nation. As the President said, inflation, now running at record rates, is a cruel tax, one that falls most harshly upon those least able to bear the burden.
There was nothing exceptional about it except the headline: "Mush from the Wimp". The headline — which was supposed to have read "All Must Share The Burden" — was corrected during the press run after 161,000 copies had already gone to circulation.
In November 1982, Globe editorial page editor Kirk Scharfenberg wrote an op-ed piece discussing his creation of the phrase and the use of "wimp" as a popular political insult afterwards. "I meant it as an in-house joke and thought it would be removed before publication," he explained. "It appeared in 161,000 copies of the Globe the next day."
In the meantime, Theo Lippman Jr. of the Baltimore Sun declared "Mush from the Wimp" the second most famous newspaper headline of the 20th century, behind "Wall St. Lays an Egg" and ahead of "Ford to City: Drop Dead".
- "Kirk Scharfenberg, 48; Editor on Boston Globe". New York Times. 1992-08-29.
- Scharfenberg, Kirk (1982-11-06). "Now It Can Be Told . . . The Story Behind Campaign '82's Favorite Insult". Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts). p. 1. Retrieved 2011-01-20. Abstract only; no article without payment.
- "More wimps from the mush". Boston Globe (City edition ed.) (Boston, Massachusetts). 1995-03-10. p. 22. Retrieved 2011-01-20. Abstract only; no article without payment.